Revisiting: Thoughts on Spiritual Flexibility

Back in July of 2016, I wrote a post titled “Thoughts on Spiritual Flexibility“. I thought it might be a great time to revisit some of the points in this post. I found it interesting that a July post in a Presidential election year would be facetiously noting things such as what Donald Trump may say to make headlines, since that became a fairly commonplace thing in the four years following. However, I brought the post back to the arena I wanted to set things in:  devotional practice.

My devotional practice has changed a lot in the following years since this post. At that time, Crow was my primary devotional. Even though Coyote was already a part of my Spiritual Path, our contact was sporadic at best, as it has become lately. Abnoba had not even entered into the picture at this time. So much of what I wrote was geared towards daily devotionals to a single God that I was working with. Now, with three, daily devotionals  can take a different tack in the wind. But I’ll serve that up a little later.

One thing that has not changed about daily devotionals is my perspective that it just is not work. And if it resembled work, I would have problems seeing it as part of my devotionals to two Trickster Gods and a Forest Goddess. perhaps, it might be best to set down a foundation as to what I consider to be devotional aspects of my Spirituality. Merriam Webster describes devotional as:

1a: religious fervor PIETY
b: an act of prayer or private worship
c: a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation
2a: the act of dedicating something to a cause, enterprise, or activity the act of devoting
b: the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal
3 obsolete the object of one’s devotion

Merriam Webster  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devotion

So, the two I will focus on are 1(b) and to some extent 2(b). For my, my daily devotionals are something akin to prayers. Not quite the same thing, but that’s about the best that I can put into a descriptive thought. For instance, every time I drive down to Houston from Hillsboro, a trek of a little more than two-hundred miles, I always ask for the protection of my little triad of Gods. In a strict sense, this can be considered a type of devotional to all three of Them. Most mornings that I wake up, I stop for a moment and thank Crow for waking me. I don’t always do that, but am usually on point with it. But these little statements, these little moments….I don’t have to think about them, I just do them. Its a part of me. Its about respecting and recognizing the two Gods and the Goddess that are such a focal part of my Spirituality.

Now, granted, everyday life can and does get in the way of this. When I miss a day or five, I don’t kick myself for forgetting. I don’t apologize for forgetting. I get back into the cycle of showing my respect and recognition. Trust me, the Gods are not going to absolutely freak if you miss a daily devotional – unless They are requiring it of you, but that’s a different story.

I am going to quote an entire paragraph from that July 2016 post, because I just don’t know how to write this any better than it already is.

One’s Spiritual beliefs are what they are. What you believe is what you believe. I happen to believe in the Gods and Goddesses. You – whoever might be reading this – may have a belief in something different, or even nothing at all. But whatever the case may be, it shouldn’t be “work” – at least in my opinion. Being in your element Spiritually is something that should feel natural, and welcoming to you. Don’t mistake what I am saying though. Growing in your Spirituality is, and should be, work to one degree or another. That’s actually important. Growing is about stretching your Spiritual muscles, and much like physical muscles, there’s work to be done for that to happen. But just being who you are Spiritually? That should be as natural and comfortable as your skin.

Thoughts on Spiritual Flexibility, TommyElf
Photo by Anugrah Lohiya on Pexels.com

I’m quite comfortable with who and what I am. I don’t need the wider Pagan community to acknowledge or tell me if I am a Pagan, a Druid or a Polytheist. I know I am those. I’m comfortable with being those. I continue to grow in my knowledge and understanding of all of those. I don’t need society to accept the fact that I am Polyamorous.  I am. Our modern Christian society tells me that I am going to Hell for beliefs such as that. My only response is “you first.” I’m not judging people’s lifestyles nor am I saying that mine is better than theirs. Except that is better than theirs – for me. Don’t be on the fence about who and what you are. Figure it out and accept that for yourself. What others toss out there only matters if you let it.

Why do I bring this up? Because being who you are is important. Knowing who you are is a constant search. Understanding who you are is key to being comfortable with yourself. If devotionals aren’t your thing, don’t do them. But don’t piss all over someone else’s belief in devotionals. Respect it for what it is – a part of who they are, a part of their beliefs. I don’t particularly believe in the Holy Trinity, but I am not about to piss all over the concept. But if you are into devotionals and its your thing – don’t kick yourself in the ass when you miss one or five in a row. Just get back on the devotional cycle that you’ve set for yourself.

–T /|\

ReVisting: “Finding My Way”…and Going Even Further

Well, we have made it to the weekend, actually the near end of the weekend with the 8:45pm point of writing this post. Maybe I need to alter my writing of these posts by a day or two prior to the publishing date, but I digress. This is one of the “ReVisiting” I have decided to work on. This time I went way back to 2012 – nearly the beginning of the blog, and pulled up the post “Finding My Way“. This post was a sort of internal phrasing of where I was at the moment. I was burned out on nearly everything I was doing, and I desperately needed a long break. A three-week long trip was planned to drive up to Glacier National Park, with stops in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Colorado in both the going and returning aspects of the trip. The trip turned out to be exactly what I needed. An internal reset. I certainly could have used such a trip earlier this Summer, but COVID-19 had other plans, which have kept me in Hillsboro, Texas for quite some time. This has also allowed me to step back into the analytical approach as to how my personal Path has been going, where it has been, and where I hope it might go.

In the “Finding My Way” post, at the very end, I left a rather disjointed statement about getting back to my poetry, which I have, as a means of bringing things back together. Now, a little over eight years later (I wrote the original post on June 12th, 2012), I have started to understand far better that the Path is not always a straight line. And sometimes I have no control whatsoever where it will lead me to go. While the analytical part of what I wrote was a good look at where I had gone with my career, which is currently not at all where I ever envisioned it would be, another song besides Rush’s ‘Finding My Way” (the lyrical inspiration of the post) brought a much deeper piece of analytics to me – Queensryche’s “Someone Else” from their “Promised Land” album. There are two versions of the song on the album, and this one is referenced as the “full band” version on the 2003 reissue of the album. As follows are those lyrics:

When I fell from grace I never realized
How deep the flood was around me
A man whose life was toil was like a kettle left to boil
And the water left these scars on me

The chains I wore were mine, dragging me towards my fate
Planned for me long ago
I played by all their rules, went to their right schools
Who was I to question?

They used to say I was nowhere man
Heading down was my destiny
But yesterday I swear that was
Someone Else, not me

Here I stand at the crossroad’s edge
Afraid to reach out for eternity
One step when I look down
I see someone else, not me

I know now who I am, if only for awhile
I recognize the changes
I feel like I did, before the magic wore thin
And the baptism of stains began

Sacrifice, they always say… is a sign of nobility
But where does one draw the line in the face of injury?
I’m just trying to understand

Standing here at the crossroad’s edge
Looking down at what I used to be
A drowning man, trying to stay afloat
Heavy with the past, but somehow keeping hope
That there’s something more that is seen
But it’s somewhere out of reach

So I keep looking back
Looking back and I see someone else

All my life they said I was going down
But I’m still standing stronger proud

And today I know, there’s so much more I can be
I think I finally understand

From where I stand at the crossroad’s edge
There’s a path leading out to sea
And from somewhere deep in my mind
Sirens sing out loud, songs of doubt, as only they know how
But one glance back reminds and I see
Someone Else, not me.

I keep looking back at Someone Else… me?

I realize it is a lengthy quote, but the song has some real meaning to me throughout my life. All the way through sixth grade, I was a student that was ahead of everyone else. I read on a near collegiate level, while most my class lagged far behind me. My teachers had nothing but very elevated praise for me. When my father reached the end of his thirty-two year Air Force career, we rotated back to the United States, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama to be precise. My parents enrolled me into Catholic parochial elementary school for my sixth grade (a repeat grade for me because I did not have all the credits required to move to high school due to the differences between US schools and DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependents Schools). This was also my first introduction to the concepts of main-stream, popular music. That was predictable measure for my grades to drop. I went from the top of my class to a continual and constant finish at the back of my class through to my high school graduation. As the song notes, no one had a lot of hope for my ability to make anything of myself. And I certainly listened to all of that and played predictable to it, with the exception of my extremely high ACT and SAT scores. But scores never mattered to me, and I kept to my constant routine of being more of a failure than any kind of success.

My long hair also did not endear my very well to my extremely strict and conservative father. The fact that I immediately went back to wearing my hair long past my collar after I left the US military brought a lot of the anger and disappointment of both of my parents aimed directly at me. Much later, my mother confided in me that my father was never more proud than when I was promoted to Sergeant. And never more disappointed than the moment that I was removed from the military with a General Discharge (Under Honorable Conditions). He was disappointed. I was ready to live life under my own terms.

Most likely, I am a typical Libra. I see all sides of an issue. I see the good and bad in people. I always seek balance. Except when I am traveling my own road. I am quite the free traveler in all of that. If a certain pathway looks more intriguing to me, I will take it – if I can. My entire world view has been one of experience – both good, bad, and disastrous. I remember points in my life where I lived in a one-room apartment. My meals were ramen (yummy and salty!) and popcorn. Yes, I bought those large bags of pre-popped popcorn, and I could live off of that for nearly a week. From that point, I have also owned my own home, had more than enough money to pay the bills and then some. I have seen both sides of that hill. I have driven cars that I am absolutely sure were never safe to be on the road. I’ve purchased brand-new cars. My life has always been about experiences. And it likely always will.

I have tried a few different aspects of Paganism. And my Spirituality continues to be about experiences. That is an integral aspect of my Spirituality. I cannot fathom any part of my lifetime without that.

Each of those experience are what I consider to be “crossroads” in my Life. Now, at fifty-four (almost fifty-five), one would think that these crossroads would begin to be less and less. Not so…crossroads will always occur throughout this Life, and continue on into whatever happens beyond the Veil. I would hope that I am less likely to jump in any direction than I was in my youth. I hope that I am far more considerate about what each direction might hold before setting a single footstep in that direction.

At the very end of “Finding My Way” I made the following observation about trying to move forward with the expressed intention of folding more creativity into the daily recipe of me:

In other words – just let the G-ds club me upside the head with Awen — and see what happens.  And through that — explore the “me” a little more.

In essence I was a little naive in my thinking. Creativity is all around me. Not just mine, but everyone else’s too. Someone’s creativity created the laptop and the Windows 10 environment I use. Someone’s creative created the WordPress platform I am typing all of this into. The creativity of the band members of Queensryche provided the music I am listening to. Creativity is everywhere. There are waves of it invisibly washing over us every moment of the day. Just gotta grab one of those waves and let it take you wherever, while opening yourself to what it is and whatever it brings to you. As a simple aside, this is exactly how I do the writing for this blog. I do not typically write the way other folks seem to – find a topic, plan out what to write, and then fit what you type into that. I just let the wave take me wherever it does.

A long time back, everyone in my life told me that I would never really be anything in life. And I listened. Until the military showed me I could do anything I put my mind to doing. When I came out of the military and into the world, I did not try to conform to anyone else’s standards of what I should do. I conformed to be what I wanted me to be. I took my lumps for it. There were some truly dark times associated with my choices. But those were my choices. I owned the consequences of those choices, and in my opinion – I grew up in ways I never thought I could do. My father always told me I would be irresponsible as an adult, simply because I didn’t follow his way of doing things. A few years before his death, we reconciled our differences and he admitted he was impressed with the way I handled my life. It was what I truly needed to hear…even if it came too late to really soften my heart towards his stance. But that’s another post of self examination….

–T /|\

Revisiting- Killing Me Slowly With Over-Scheduling and Stress

New to the blog schedule are the re-visits to older blog posts. Except, this time, I decided to not go that far back. “Killing Me Slowly With Over-Scheduling and Stress” was published a little over two years ago…June 21, 2018. At the time, I was trying to find ways to free up an overly scheduled life. This was written about the time that I brought the podcast “Upon a Pagan Path” to a close. Podcasting is a lot of fun, as well as a lot of work, and I really needed to chop off a lot of what was happening in my life at the time. It was only natural that it was ended.

Not only was I writing blogs here, but I was also writing blogs for Moon Books on their platform, until major changes were made in how to get material published, and that slowly slid away as well. Add to that, I was writing haphazardly here on the blog with no committed time schedule for publishing posts, so some organization was desperately needed.

As I noted in the blog post at the time, I was using Google Calendar to try and keep things on track. It took a little longer for me to get away from scheduling at certain times for tasks such as writing blog posts. I try to get these done at some point on the day that the schedule states….sometimes it doesn’t always happen, but that’s not a big deal. A little slip in the schedule will happen for a variety of reasons. Instead of beating myself up over it, I have learned to make due, and continue moving forward. Now, the same cannot be said for other tasks that require timely aspects to them, but that’s another perspective altogether.

The last two paragraphs, as I reread things, really bring some of this into focus for me.

All of this over-scheduling was really killing me slowly. My stress levels climbed beyond belief. A trip to the cardiologist revealed a need to drop a lot of the stress from my life. Revamping my calendar and task list has helped. I have to continue being careful of how I schedule everything and taking down-time between tasks and events. After all, I want to be here a lot longer.

But I do wonder…are we over-scheduling our lives to try and complete more stuff in our lives? And in that process, are we missing the small, beautiful details of our lives as everything passes us in a speedy procession?? I certainly do wonder…

So, I sit, remembering stuff from two years ago. My job was extremely stressful during this time. Silly demands, constant alterations to the department, the personnel, my job responsibilities….all of that had me constantly trying to get settled into a routine that was constantly being tipped over. My upper-level management could not commit to structure changes for more than two months at a time, and trust me, constant upheaval in the workplace is a difficult thing for anyone to deal with.

Now, with all that almost a year behind me now, I find that I can breathe a little easier now. Except that Life has gone back to being just a dice-roll. COVID-19 has certainly altered the entire ballgame. Getting outside is not as easy as it once was. Being out in public, among people, has a hint of being quite dangerous. Hill county, where I currently live, has had less than fifty COVID-19 cases since the beginning until about two weeks ago. Each of the last two weeks, the numbers are spiking at nearly double the rate each week. There was only a single death due to the virus in the entire county until two weeks ago. Now we have six. Being out in public is a strict no-no for me, which has forced me to look over things such as grocery runs with a different perspective. I stock up on foods as much as possible. I freeze whatever meats I can get. Essentially, I treat my world as if I am barricading in from the zombies that I mentioned in the June 21, 2018 post I have referenced. I made a laughing reference to becoming a hermit, but that is starting to turn into reality here. The social aspect of my Paganism is essentially online these days.

When will things change and go back to what they used to be? Will things ever be what they used to be? How is all of this going to alter what I do as a Druid?

The reality is that things will not be the same when some sort of “normalcy” finally happens. Life is going to be altered to a large degree in some manner. What I remember as everyday life will be different. How? Well, that remains to be seen. Of the three questions, the one that I cannot answer at all, is the last one. I still practice my Druidry through meditation indoors, and my prayers and outside time in the backyard. Fairly soon, I will start seeking out places that are a few hours’ drive away, where I think very few people will be. But what defines “fairly soon?” At this point, I am not sure.

I keep to my calendar. Some sense of normalcy is important. I don’t have near as much stuff contained within it. But I still use it to provide some degree of routine for me to follow. Otherwise, I am not sure I would even bother getting out of bed most days. I completely understand everyone having similar feelings. All our daily lives got turned upside down and then churned into shark chum. Now, we pick through the flotsam and jetsam, trying to see what we might be able to salvage, and what we might be able to use for a new start. But remember, we’ve all had issues with over-scheduling our lives. Now, we have a chance to take those schedules back and reduce some of the stress in our lives. Just a thought, going forward.

–T /|\

Revisiting – Thanks For Your Service

Way back in 2013, I wrote a post about this particular statement – “Thank you for your service.” It’s a rather simple statement usually provided once people find out the extremely small detail that I served in the US military for eight years. And even now, some seven years after I wrote this article, it’s still a statement that makes me cringe. Not because people are thanking me for the eight years of my life that I freely gave up. No, not that at all. Because, for the most part, it’s an empty platitude usually meant to elicit a response from the public on the querent’s profound sense of patriotism. In other words, the person making the statement wants to be recognized as being patriotic in the eyes of others by thanking a veteran.

Now, I know that’s not always the case. Some people are genuinely expressing their thanks for me putting on a uniform, foregoing my rights to be judged under the very structure of the Constitution that I am swearing to defend, and potentially laying my life on the line in the defense of the freedoms of this county and its citizenry. But in my experience, those folks are so few and far between. I know that many others are saying thanks to show pride in what I did for eight years, hoping to provide a moment for me to feel good about my service. They are trying their best to erase an ugly moment in our history, where troops returning from Viet Nam were spat upon and decried as “baby-killers”. Certainly, there were instances of bad behavior by troops within that war zone, but the American public painted with a broad-brush, as it often does – splattering blame on military folks who had nothing to do with such atrocities. However, painting with a broad brush is no excuse for what did happen.

Rest assured, I saw a lot of bad behavior while I was in the military, both here in the United States and overseas. In Germany, military personnel accounted for a large majority of the rapes in the Kaiserslautern Military Community while I was there. Drunken driving, and the resultant accidents were also predominantly military issues. During the riots in Los Angeles after the trial of the assailants of Rodney King, there were military members that overturned vehicles on Sembach Air Base – sharing in the emotional outrage that had occurred. Military personnel are no saints, and they are prone to the exact same bad behaviors as their civilian citizenry is. Again, rest assured, I was no saint either.

That’s right. I accumulated some bad behavior while I was in the Air Force. Specifically, I played the role of “dog robber” for my unit, a NATO designated unit under control of NATO command at Brussels, Belgium. We did not receive our equipment or our unit funding from US military command authority. Ours came from NATO and as such, we were severely under-funded and under-equipped. A “dog robber” is the same thing as a scrounger. I took equipment that we had too much of, and utilized that to barter for equipment that we didn’t have and needed. This method of equipment transfer is illegal in any military and is referenced as “black marketeering.” Typically, military equipment gets sold to civilian counter parts for illicit monetary payments. My manner of operating was to trade equipment with other military units, so that we could comply with necessary TT&E (Training, Testing & Exercising) requirements. I never traded with civilians because I could not get what we needed from them. Plus, transferring equipment between units was a “look away” moment from command, whereas trading with civilians was considered to be criminal (as it should be). For my unit, I traded sixty ice cream makers (seriously) for three-hundred-and-seventy-five magnetic tape reels with a US Navy Frigate docked in Rota, Spain. In another transaction, I obtained a Connex shed (essentially a shipping container that you usually see being loaded on ships and trains) for my unit to store excess equipment in (such as our chemical warfare gear). None of this was done with implicit command authority knowledge, but my commander had made the comment that it would “sure be nice to have…” My job was to make it happen. And most of the time, I did.

Me – USAF – July 1992

I never finished my second hitch. My first enlistment was for four years. My second was for six. I only served for four. My mortal sin was missing a single early morning exercise. Not the kind with rifles and military combat training. Exercise, as in jumping jacks, push-ups, and aerobics with a step-board. It was held at the gym on Sembach. I worked a night shift until 1am and went back to Vogelweh to catch a quick nap. I was due at the exercise at the Sembach gym at 6am. I never showed. I was fast asleep on my couch with the tv still on. This earned me the wrath of my Command Sergeant, who never liked my way of dealing with things. I was always on the edge of the line. This was the opportunity to nail my ass to the wall. And he did. I left the Air Force on a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, thanks to my commander. My Command Sergeant was going to process me out on a Dishonorable Discharge. My commander intervened on the process type, but my separation from the military was going to happen regardless.

I would not consider my time in the military to be an overall happy one. However, it did teach me a skill set – utilizing mainframe systems. I parlayed that experience into the career I have today. But those words – “thank you for your service” – still ring hollow in my ears. Except when they come from another veteran, because I know they understand. I know they’ve experienced some of the same military idiocy that I did. Where commanders, upper-ranks sergeants all seemed to think that spit and polish equated to combat readiness. Where the worry was on how you looked, not on how you managed to think on your feet in the middle of a crisis moment.

No, I don’t need to be thanked for any part of my service. Much the same as the way I approach my work. I worry about the results…how I look or how I get there is immaterial. But I also realize that don’t need to be the salty veteran that feels the need to piss all over some well-meaning kid’s empathy – even if it is misplaced. So, I smile – in the days before COVID, I would offer my hand for a handshake – and I say, “No sir (or ma’am as the case might be), thank you for remembering.” Even when I don’t feel like their statement is merited. Because there’s a level of decency that goes along with being a real American citizen. And Gods, I sure as the Nine Hells don’t see a lot of that currently. Our deep division in politics, our inability to find reason on the issues of race and the such, the violent arguments over something as inane as wearing a mask….there’s no need for me to react angrily over a simple statement. There is a need for me to lead by example, and graciously accept the statement, even when it is an empty platitude.

–T /|\

Revisiting – Musing on “Elder” Status

Back in October of 2018, I wrote a blog post titled “So You’re an Elder…What Now?” where I started the overall discussion by noting that I am an Elder within the Pagan community. At thirty-plus years on my Pagan Path – I started down this path in mid-to-late 1986 – I am certainly an Elder. This is also a role that I continue to have my own personal issues with. At nearly fifty-five years of age, I do not feel “old” in any sense. However, I cannot run like I used to. My poor knees cannot take that kind of punishment. So no matter how I might “feel”, my body reminds me nearly daily that I am not the young man used to be. Never mind that when I let my full beard grow out, I have extremely white whiskers on my cheeks. No matter how hard I fight the idea, I definitely am an Elder.

Following those slight musings, among a few other points, I wrote the following two paragraphs:

Traveling through this part of my feelings, and my struggle towards accepting my own role as an Elder has brought me to this point. What in the Nine Hells am I expecting of myself in a role as an Elder? My struggle with this has nothing to do with the people that stop me along their own Path and ask questions. No, my struggle comes back to a feeling of being responsible for someone else’s Spiritual Path. Which, to be blunt, I’m not.

I’m not trained as a Priest. I do not, will not and cannot perform those functions. There are members of the Pagan community who are more than capable of doing these functions. They have pledged their lives to be Priests for their communities. Part of their function is in assisting and training others who are also on their Path. It would be wrong, unethical, and very unwieldy for me to perform such functions. I am not a clergy member. It is not my function nor my role.

All of this took another six months for me to start changing my perspective. I still struggle with the idea of a wider role within the Pagan community. The only role I have in the community that I have moved into is to just be me. To my knowledge, there are no Pagans nearby, making me into a local community of one. What am I expecting of myself in this twilight of my life in this existence? Well, probably the best way to explain that is to drop into the second paragraph from the article. I may not be trained conventionally as a Priest, but I am capable of fulfilling the role when needed. It will be a little wobbly, quite unconventional in nature, but I can definitely fulfill the role. Could I train someone on this Path? Not likely, but I can provide direction to those that can. For instance, someone wanting to get into Druidry, I can point them to the closest ADF folks to where they are or I can provide them with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. As someone on an Ovate path, I cannot teach much, but I can be available to listen to any difficulties they might have, and provide some assistance – though a better source for that would be their assigned mentor.

So, as I struggle with my own myopic view of what an Elder is, how can find my own role within the context of this label? Or do I really need to? I work in my Spirituality under the precept that I need to handle my own approach as my own. If it doesn’t conform to what someone else is doing, that is perfectly fine, so long as it works for me. As I learn more and more about my own Path, my own perspective, my own Path – I have started to realize that my divergence from what is essentially the mainstream of today’s modern Pagan Paths is not because of a desire to be different, but a need to follow what is a concern within my own personal Spirituality.

So, I continue to see myself in the role of a mentor, of sorts. I am not going to be the Pagan that teaches you about magick or spell work – those are not arrows in my quiver. But I can help you make the connections to your immediate environment, so that you can experience your immediate place in the world around you.

And the resulting conversations with some of the newer Pagans on their own Paths is not about converting them to my way of thinking, but just pulling the curtain back on where I have walked and how I have managed to get here. I can show them the hows and whys of getting here…they still have to walk the walk. They still have to want to do the hard work that gets them to a point similar to this. I am not their Priest. I am not their Guru. I’m just me.

I still worry about people placing me on a pedestal. As I note here, I am a Priest of one – me. I am no Guru. I just happen to have been walking this Path since 1986. None of that makes me special. However, it does make me who I am. All of that experience informs my daily walk. All of that experience has helped me to develop stronger connections to the world around me. All of that experience will help me as I continue to move forward on this path, and in this existence. The way I think, the way I work through issues – even in my everyday, mundane life – is informed from my experience, and my experience alone. To get here, I did the hard work. To get further, I have more hard work to get through. I don’t do it for a title or to be an initiate to some grade in some Druid Order. I do it because its my Path to walk. It took me around two decades to find myself here. This is the Path I was searching for. This works for me. I’ll be more than happy to pick up and support those who stumble along the way. I’m also happy to help those who are lost on this Path to find the Path that works better for them. Why? Because it strokes my ego? No. Because its the right thing to do.

My role as an Elder is truly a simple one: be me, and be available. Talk. Discuss. Point others in the directions where you have been. Talk with them about your approaches. Provide advice when asked for. Try not to be judgmental about other approaches. Simply just be there. And you do not even have to embrace the title of “Elder”…you can simply just be you. Just another Pagan, living each day in service to your Gods, experiencing what life has to offer…and being there for others. In the end, this should be service enough to others because a safe place to discuss any topic is where and who I should be. And through all of that, none of it marks me as “special” – merely that like anyone else, I am unique.

I loathe mission statements. To me, those are corporate leftovers which make a statement to the world, but are rarely followed internally. However, if I was looking for a mission statement, this quote may surely be it. I am no holder of some secret, ancient knowledge. I hold my experiences in everyday life, as well as life within more closed and intimate environments, such as Druid Camps, initiation circles, and the intimate, delicate conversations around a fire at two or three in the morning. Some of those experiences are closed events, not to be shared with others. Not just because of the private matter, but so that the moment (such as in initiations) can be experienced with fresh eyes and emotions by the initiate. Life is all about experiences. Sometimes those experiences can be confusing and even downright scary. I have been there. I’m more than willing to sit and listen. You need someone to hold you at the campfire, just so you have someone close….I’m your Druid. An Ovate, but still a Druid.

We are all unique. We all react differently to events that unfold around us. Sometimes, we need a shoulder to lean. Or a hand to hold for a while during a short distance on the Path. Or someone who will wrap us in their cloak and be that warm, soothing companion against the chill of the night or the tremors that stepped up at an unguarded moment. Part of being on this path for so long means that I am here to be that person, should you need it. I am an Elder. I am a Priest, maybe not in the conventional sense of the word, but still a Priest. I am a Druid. I am approachable. I am a safe place for anyone that needs it.

–T /|\